LANSING — Though they didn’t always agree with her, Andi Pawlowski’s colleagues on the Lansing City Council said they respected her during her 17 years on the council. That was a dominant theme during Thursday night’s meeting, which was her last.
Later this month, Marcus Majure will be sworn in to fill that Ward 2 seat. Majure beat Pawlowski by a razor-thin edge in November.
The majority of Thursday’s meeting was devoted to thanking her for her service and praising her work and dedication. One attribute surfaced during many of the reminisces – the fact that even after disagreements, council members felt they could respect their differences and still be friends.
In today’s political climate, council member Kerry Brungardt said, “people can’t sit down and talk and disagree. But Andi and I had huge disagreements; we’d each try to convince the other,” but at the end, he said, “we’d respectfully go our ways and still be friends and colleagues. And if I had questions, Andi was the one I’d ask.”
Pawlowski was appointed in August 2002 to fill an unexpired term, and council member Don Studnicka recalls recruiting her to apply.
“I thought we needed a woman’s perspective,” Studnicka said. And he also thought the council would benefit from her real estate expertise.
The fact that she provided a “voice for women” came up early in the meeting. Janette Holdeman Labbee, who had served with Pawlowski, thanked her for being that voice and for her service to the city.
Another council member, Jesse Garvey, called it an “honor to serve” with Pawlowski, “though you were a pain in the backside at times.” But he felt she taught him a lot about the council and the city.
“I began to realize,” said council member Gregg Buehler, “everything you do, you do because you care.”
Pawlowski and council member Dave Trinkle have disagreed many times. They both have joked about it previously and Thursday night.
“But you’ve made an impression on the city,” he said, adding she “made the council a little more mixed” and added a different perspective.
Council member Gene Kirby said she “voted her convictions and was not afraid to be the lone vote.”